Kids who have family members diagnosed with diabetes are more likely to have hyperinsulinemia, or high levels of insulin in the blood, researchers from Mexico say.
Researchers randomly selected 317 10- to 14-year-olds from northern Mexican elementary and middle schools. The kids were weighed, measured, and had blood samples drawn for measurements of their cholesterol, triglycerides, blood sugar, blood pressure, and insulin levels. Researchers also tested the children's parents for high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity.
The results? Kids who had a family member with type 2 diabetes had higher blood pressure readings, were more likely to be obese, and had higher insulin and triglyceride levels compared with those whose parents didn't have diabetes.
Overall, 15% of the kids studied had hyperinsulinemia, a frequent sign of insulin resistance (when the body doesn't respond as well to insulin). Insulin resistance is thought to increase the risk for several health problems, including type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.
Nearly 73% of the kids with a family history of type 2 diabetes had hyperinsulinemia, compared with only 27% of those without a family history. Blood pressure and obesity weren't linked to hyperinsulinemia in this study.
What This Means to You
The results of this study show that even when kids aren't obese, a family history of diabetes may predispose them to insulin resistance and higher risk of developing diabetes over time. They may also be more likely to be obese and have high blood pressure, two factors that place them at risk for cardiovascular disease in the future.
Even if type 2 diabetes runs in your family, serving healthy foods and controlling portion sizes, engaging in regular physical activity, and getting to and maintaining a healthy weight may significantly decrease your family's risk of developing diabetes, high blood pressure, and other health problems related to insulin resistance.
If you have questions about your child's weight or risk for type 2 diabetes, talk to your doctor, who may recommend that you consult a registered dietitian.
Reviewed by: Steven Dowshen, MD
Date reviewed: November 2006
Source: Martha Rodriguez-Moran, MD, MSc, PhD; Fernando Guerrero-Romero, MD, PhD, FACP; Pediatrics, November 2006.